Category: This Awkward Life


A word I just made up to describe the feeling you get when you discover a previously unknown, informative portion of the internet that you know will delight you for some time to come.

Ethical Botnet

Compromised website installs cracked MATLAB on your computer along with tutorial.

Compromised website installs anti-virus and CCleaner on your computer.

Crazy Guy Wanders Into MMA Gym — A Memory for the Ages

I was doing BJJ sparring with my coach at Chicago MMA (or more accurately, being smashed from bottom scarf hold) when a person waltzed through the doors of our gym, wearing a huge, toothless grin on his?her? face. The dude’s gender was obscured by long “dreadlocks” that drooped out of his?her? baseball cap, lichen-like hair clumps long abandoned by shampoo.

Because of his voice, I lean towards saying that this was a male. Upon seeing fellow humans, he started jabbering and giggling. I am glad jiu jitsu delighted him so.

My coach and I, we continued our roll, albeit at a dramatically slowed down pace as we cautiously observed the fellow. (Even half-assing though, the coach’s top scarf hold still would not budge.) After a couple minutes without a response, the guy turned around and left.

Words cannot describe how surreal this incident was. Perhaps, he was a Shinto spirit that had come to bless the gym.

National Veterans Art Museum in Chicago





Photo credits to Rachel Cali. 

I have not seen many art exhibitions, but this was unlike any I’ve ever seen. On their placards, rather than voicing statements about what their art represented, voicing academic intentions of eliciting specific reactions and thoughts from others, the veterans instead wrote of their gnawing impulsions to excise and unshackle for no one’s sake but their own.

Raw and visceral.

Knight Island, Prince William Sound, Alaska

Just returned from my Sierra Club Alaska trip.

10 people, two leaders, three rangers, 15 in all — the trip party was assembled from a unique cast of characters. Though I suppose everybody becomes unique after you spend 10 days with them.

Orcas, bug bites from four different generic lines of bugs, fresh-grilled salmon, fire lines, the largest eye-burning bonfires that I’ve ever seen in the flesh. Shitting in a tube. If you ever hear me euphemistically refer to a bathroom break in the future is a biobreak, this trip is the reason for that.

Now, another treasured, fallibly remembered sequence has been factored my internal fabric of existence.

The sight of a forest bear trail opening up to a series of connected lush muskegs overlooking a river, surrounded by two snowcapped mountains, trees bursting from cliffs. Sundews, budding blueberry plants, skunk cabbage, these smaller, round edible plants (cow-something?) distributed about. I hope I don’t forget that — in fact, I’m writing this in the hopes of crystallizing that image.

Then, there was Bob. Too ridiculous.

It would have been wise to bring a journal. An extended experience is too overwhelming to coherently recount in one fell swoop. And things are already starting to fade, feel like a dream, because Alaska is such a weird special place with its lighting, its lonely, transplanted, slightly crazy populace. The scenery fading more quickly than the muscle memories and tactile sensations of paddling in cold water, chucking four by fours, throwing rocks in place of using tools, sinking into mud, and balancing on sharp beach rocks. (Wetness, wetness, wetness, shivering in wet sleeping bags. Now, it’s hard to shake that feeling.)

So, if you run into me, ask me about Bob before I forget!